Wednesday, March 13, 2013

π Day

Dave and I are geeks, there is no getting around it. In addition to his medical degree, Dave has a Master’s degree in physical chemistry. I have a Masters’ degree in biophysical sciences. We subscribe to four science journals not counting Dave’s medical journals. Our personal library ranges from astronomy to zoology with hundreds of books in between. The fact that we are shepherds hasn’t changed our love of science.

So it’s not surprising that we celebrate π Day (or Pi Day if you don’t know how to pronounce π), March 14, 3-14. Π is a mathematical constant, an infinite number that is used to calculate the circumference of a circle from its diameter (circumference = π times the diameter) . It’s a useful number. For example, when we’re trying to figure out how many taps we can put in a big maple tree, we know that in general, it’s one tap for every 31 inches of circumference. If the tree is twenty inches across, its circumference is  3.14159 X 20 or  62.8 inches around. That means that tree could have two taps. 

Because π is such an important and useful number, we celebrate π on 3-14, and, if possible, at 1:59p.m. we eat a piece of pie. This year, we’re going to have pecan pie made with maple syrup to celebrate both the number and the maple trees which we’ll begin tapping this weekend.

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